Ascent – cinema version


80 min.

The beautiful and mysterious Mount Duji is the site for an adventure of the imagination for a western female writer and her soulful male Japanese correspondent. We go on a metaphorical journey with them up the mountain, crossing geographical, temporal and cultural divides. Employing a collection of dazzlingly varied still images spanning the history of photography, the mountain becomes a breathtaking cultural monolith, inspiring the writer to uncover different paths and to muse on the significance of its dominant presence in Japanese history, religion and philosophy. By combining fiction and documentary, the film is able to explore the intersections between Japanese and western art and popular culture, from Van Gogh's passion to the perspectival simplicity of Japanese designs to Hokusai's woodblock print of 'The Wave'. Evoking both the insight and lyricism of Chris Marker's Sans Soleil and emotional complexity of Alain Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour, Fiona Tan's wonderful film captures the paradox of existing in time and space without movement. Profound stillness.
(Helen de Witt)


With Hiroki Hasegawa and Fiona Tan
Produced by: Antithesis Films

Forthcoming screenings:
24 January 2018
Black Box, Kino in Filmmuseum, Düsseldorf

23 February 2018
Visite, Het Bos, Antwerpen

10-17 March 2018
Filmmor International Women’s Film Festival, Istanbul